Pregnancy is a period that brings about a plethora of changes in a couple's life. From planning the baby's arrival to the personal needs, things no longer remain the same. During pregnancy, the sex life of many couples goes for a toss. There are many myths surrounding sex during pregnancy. In this article, we will discuss the facts about sex during pregnancy as well as a host of other things that one should take care of to ensure a healthy pregnancy.
Facts About Sex During Pregnancy-
- Some women complain of a low sexual desire (low libido), especially during the first trimester. This is normal, as, in addition to the hormonal changes, you are experiencing a lot of physical complications and discomfort such as morning sickness, depression, to name a few. However, with the progression to the second and third trimesters, the condition improves to a great extent (increased libido). A proper understanding and patience between the couples can be of immense help.
- As opposed to many popular beliefs and myths, in case of an uncomplicated and healthy pregnancy, sex neither affects the baby nor the pregnancy. Inside the womb, the amniotic sac and the uterine muscles act as protective shields safeguarding the fetus. It is also a well-known fact that during sex, the penis can never penetrate beyond the vagina, thus keeping the baby safe and unharmed. However, if you complain of any discomfort (such as bleeding or severe pain) after the intercourse, consult your attending physician immediately.
- Another myth that does the round is having sex during pregnancy can induce early labor. As stated above, in a healthy pregnancy, sex seldom triggers any complications. In spite of having sex, you will go into labor only when it is due. There may be some contractions but there is nothing to panic.
- During pregnancy, the best position to have sex is one in which both the partners, especially the woman (for obvious reasons), are comfortable. Experimenting too much may not be a wise idea.
- If needed, take the necessary protections (male or female conditions) to avoid any sexually transmitted infections or diseases.
- Contraindications: Conditions like signs of preterm labor, vaginal bleeding, placenta previa, cervical incompetence, or you are carrying multiples where sex is strictly prohibited.
Factors to ensure a healthy pregnancy-
With pregnancy, the nutritional requirements of a woman changes (needs additional nutrients as the baby derives nutrition from the mother). Thus, the diet should be nutritionally balanced. Essential nutrients during pregnancy-
- Protein plays a pivotal role in the fetal development, especially as a woman enters into the second and third trimester of pregnancy (a period marked by accelerated fetal development).
- Daily protein requirement for a pregnant woman (based on the body weight):- 40gms-70gms of protein daily.
- Sources of dietary proteins:- Lean meat, beans, milk, cheese, yogurt, tofu, fish avoid fish rich in mercury), poultry, eggs, to name a few.
- Prenatal vitamins: Pregnant women are often advised to take prenatal vitamins and minerals to ensure the nutritional requirement of the body is taken care of benefitting both the mother and the baby.
- While the prenatal vitamins include a myriad of vitamins, minerals, omega-3 fatty acids, a prenatal vitamin that deserve a special mention is a Folic Acid.
- Folic Acid: Also known as Folate, this synthetic form of Vitamin B9 plays a pivotal role in minimizing the incidences of Neural Tube Defects, especially Spina Bifida (congenital spinal defect), and Anencephaly (a severe congenital disorder of the brain).
- Folic acid goes a long way in preventing preeclampsia and in the normal functioning of the DNA, including the DNA repair and synthesis. The synthesis of the healthy RBCs is also dependent on folic acid.
- The daily requirement of folic acid for a pregnant woman:- 600 micrograms (mcg) of folic acid during the first trimester (should not exceed 1000 mcg per day).
(II) Relax as much as you can:
- From backaches to cramps to insomnia, pregnancy comes with its share of discomfort, especially during the first and third trimester. Thus, one needs to take rest.
- Sleep can work wonders to refresh and rejuvenate the body.
- Supporting your back or the belly with a pillow can work wonders ensuring a sound, uninterrupted sleep.
- In addition to this, prenatal massages by an expert can go a long way to ease the body pain.
- Prenatal yoga and stretches can also prove to be beneficial.
- Resting lying in left lateral position is best during pregnancy.
(III) Travel during pregnancy:
- As long as there are no identified complications or concerns with your pregnancy, it is generally safe to travel at all times during your pregnancy. The ideal time to travel during pregnancy is the second trimester.
- Air travel before week 36 of pregnancy is considered safe for women who have healthy pregnancies. You should check with your gynaecologist before you fly.
(IV) Drinking and smoking during pregnancy can result in deleterious consequences.
- When one consumes alcohol during pregnancy, it reaches the fetus via the bloodstream resulting in elevated levels of blood alcohol in the fetus. This condition is dangerous and may trigger stillbirths or even a miscarriage. Further, there may be developmental disorders in the child along with low birth weight. It can also trigger Fetal alcohol syndrome characterized by disorders of the CNS, heart problems, facial abnormality and poor and altered growth.
- One of the harmful effects of smoking during pregnancy includes stillbirths, low birth weights, sudden infant death syndrome, to name a few.
- Avoid constipation: As it can lead to piles, drink plenty of water and also include plenty fibre in your diet.
(V) Cutting down on the caffeine intake (less than 200 mg per day) is important to avoid pregnancy-related complications such as miscarriage or inadequate iron absorption.
In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!